What else can I do to protect my Tamarillo tree in winter?

Q.

Hi, we live in Rakaia Canterbury, I’ve grown my tamarillo tree to 2 metres tall and it is fruiting, I’ve built a wooden frame around it and wrapped it in frost cloth will it survive the winter. Thanks.

Gary Hillier

A.

Hi Gary, you have certainly taken steps to ensure your tamarillo will get through winter. They are a sub tropical fruit tree and so will tolerate some frost, usually they are evergreen but in cooler regions are deciduous, so don't be alarmed if the leaves drop in winter. There are a couple of other things you can do to protect your tree, mulch around the base of the tree using pea straw or similar, it is important this is done before the first frost, if mulch is applied after frosts arrive it insulates the soil which will stay cold. The other thing that will help plants through winter is to start applying seaweed plant tonic before frosts arrive. Seaweed helps stimulate root growth and strengthens the cell wall of the plant, also, sea water doesn't freeze until -5 degrees C. Apply Tui Seaweed Plant Tonic at weekly intervals 6-8 weeks before the first frost at a rate of 70-100ml per 9L watering can.  There are anti-transpirants that can be applied to frost tender plants, ask your local garden centre for a suitable frost protection product, take care when spraying tamarillos as they have furry leaves and don't cope well with oil based sprays. Lianne. 

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